Players must shoulder responsibility for abject showing, says Preston fan John Roper

Just where do you start with a performance like that. North End were as poor as I have seen them for many a year in this encounter at Kenilworth Road and the 3-0 scoreline was nothing more than Luton deserved
Alan Browne has a shot on goalAlan Browne has a shot on goal
Alan Browne has a shot on goal

There will be some calling for the manager’s head again after this performance and that is a maybe but on the afternoon it is the players, in my opinion, who should be apologising to the fans for one of the poorest 90 minutes seen by a Preston side for a long time.

Senior players giving the ball away with five yard passes, little or no energy throughout the side and a complete lack of leadership on the field are just a few of my observations on this shocker of a performance in Bedfordshire.

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Not once in the 90 minutes did I think we were going to score and in the second half our attacking threat was virtually non existent. Manager Alex Neil decided to start with the same XI that which enjoyed the convincing win over Mddlesbrough on Wednesday evening with Paul Gallagher and Daniel Johnson coming back in on the bench.

The Hatters certainly started the brighter chasing everything down. However, it was North End who had the first chances in the game with a Jayden Stockley header followed by a tom Barkhuizen shot.

Alan Browne then had a shot over the top but from then on it was all Luton as North End were distinctly second best. A ball lost in midfield was floated beautifully over Paul Huntington’s head and James Collins made no mistake giving the home side the lead after20 minutes. Nine minutes later it was two when a Stockley clearance was recycled and Collins headed home from close range.

To be honest it was nothing more than Luton deserved and although we came back into it late on in the half we never looked like reducing the deficit giving Neil plenty of work to do in the half-time team talk after a very poor first half performance by North End.

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If we were hoping for better in the second half we were about to be hugely disappointed as the game carried on in exactly the same manner as the first half with Luton first to the ball and full of energy in everything they did.

Jordan Storey and Johnson came on at half-time to replace Huntington and Ryan Ledson but it made little difference and on the hour, Riis and Maguire were brought on for Stockley and Barkhuizen but again to little effect.

The home side sealed the points with just under 25 minutes left when Collins completed his hat-trick after turning poor Storey on the edge of the box and firing home past Declan Rudd. It has to be said that Rudd wasn’t to blame for the goals but you couldn’t say that about the 10 in front of him.

Tom Bayliss had been brought on for Brad Potts but looked like a duck out of water as North End struggled to keep the scoreline down to three against a side that were one of the favourites to be relegated before the season started.

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On the evidence of this showing there was only one side that looked in danger of going down into League One and it wasn’t Luton. After the Middlesrough game on Wednesday evening, we were talking about having turned the corner and while football is a funny old game I just didn’t see a result or a performance like this coming along.

It must have been nice for the home team to have some fans cheering them on but I don’t think that had any effect whatsoever on a clueless display by North End. This game is in the history books now and there is nothing anybody can say or do that will change the result.

Often when looking at the form of racehorses, pundits will say you can put a line through that performance because something was not right but I find it difficult to put a line through this performance even after taking seven points from the previous three games.

Yes, the Championship is very open and any team can beat another on any given day but after watching this I find it difficult to believe this Preston side will be in the shake up at the right end of the season come next. I hope I’m wrong.